I am in rapture over this. This is me. My heart, my destiny. For as long as I can remember, I have battled with unhealthy food issues and corresponding weight issues. I can remember being in grade school and sneaking into the fridge, in the middle of the night, to overeat on raw cookie dough. Born a sensitive creature, life was always too much for me. Too many feelings, too much emotion, too much insecurity. I began using food from a very early age to help myself feel better. As I got older, I could not understand WHY I could not conquer this food thing. I dug deep and really self-reflected over my food issues, how they presented themselves, why they presented themselves. I read spiritual weight loss books and became more and more enlightened on the issue. And still, I would find myself beating my head against the wall of WHY I COULD NOT CHANGE.
It wasn’t my body so much that I wanted to change, but rather this obsession over what I was putting in my mouth. It wasn’t that I was looking for a certain size or a certain number on the scale, but as I became more conscious of myself, my spirit, the way I felt, I realized that overeating did NOT make me feel good. It wasn’t really what I wanted, though my taste buds were sure it was. It made me feel like crap and the more disdain I had for it, the less it even helped me feel better in the present moment!
The food “noise” was unrelenting. It was my own personal hellish obsession and mental broken record. Always with the, “OH MY GOD I ate that much for breakfast. Sigh. Better do better for lunch.” or, “If I don’t eat better today, after the way I’ve eaten over the last three days, I’m in BIG trouble!”. There are so many versions to this dialogue it’s scary. IT WAS CONSTANT. If my mind wasn’t solving an ACTUAL problem, it was obsessing over food. I knew my mind and heart were capable of SO MUCH MORE. Having let this issue drag me through the mud for well over a decade, I woke up after last year’s Christmas binge and said enough was enough. I was amply enlightened to know that if this was not what I wanted, it was not what I had to have. I knew my food issues were linked to my feelings and my feelings (and how well I processed them) were directly linked to my connection with the Divine. I made a commitment to mental and spiritual health, firmly believing that health in these two areas would lead to health with food, and guess what? I was right. Was it still hard not to turn to food every time I had an uncomfortable feeling, when I knew I wasn’t hungry? Damn straight. But I stuck with it, firm in my intention, and within a few weeks, the Universe delivered me a book. Well, it wasn’t actually delivered, because it had been on my shelf for years (I had picked it up at a used book store once, because I liked the title), but I was looking for a new book to read one night and something prompted me to take it down off the shelf.
I immediately knew this was more than a God wink. This was a parting of the heavens. This is what Oprah refers to in her talk with this Paul Coehlo quote, “When you want something, all the Universe conspires to help you achieve it.” Everything I had ever read, learned, wanted to learn, or knew to be true about food, was in this book. The book? Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth.
Now I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say this. This is not a “how to lose weight” book. Rather, it’s a book about finding out WHY you are overeating and how you can stop, or how you can begin the process to stop. It’s about returning to yourself. Who you are. It’s about giving yourself permission to want what you want and feel what you feel. It’s about returning to the present moment and what is actually happening, versus what the voice in your head is telling you is happening. For me, it’s about eating for my spirit as much as my body. I like my spirit light; I want my spirit to be light. And I want my body and the way it feels to correspond with this lightness in my spirit. I want to thoroughly enjoy the food I eat, instead of using it to abuse myself and add to my suffering. I want my relationship with food to mirror my relationship with God.
Sound crazy? Read the book- and here’s the thing, you don’t have to apply her teachings or perspective or whatever, to food. No. We all numb ourselves to escape what we don’t like in life, just in different ways. Wine. Social Media. Gossip- you name it. The liberating truth is YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH NOT TO ESCAPE YOUR LIFE. That’s what I’ve learned. That’s why I’m down two pant sizes (like Oprah, I had no specific goal, it just happened). I know now I am stronger than I ever thought I was. Yes, I’m sensitive but I’m also one strong motherfu**** and I can SIT WITH THESE FEELINGS. I can FEEL MY FEELINGS instead of eating my feelings. I can get through hard times without abusing myself with food. I can have REALLY ROUGH TERRIBLE TWO days with my little girl. I can feel like a mountain of stress is sitting on my chest due to overwhelm. I’m strong enough. And hardest of all, I can withstand that strong pulsing desire to eat 10 cookies instead of just 1 or 20 more bites instead of stopping when I’m full. Like an alcoholic salivating for their next drink, I can FEEL that intense desire to use food as an escape and even this I can resist. Better yet, I can prevent this salivating from ever happening by STAYING CONNECTED. To the God that lives inside me. To the TRUTH of who I am. A resplendent, worthy, WHOLE human being, who, despite my temporal feelings, is actually quite well and at peace. By staying connected to the Divine part of myself, I don’t crave food to “fix” things. I know I need no fixing. Yes, the waves of life toss me to and fro but that’s okay, because guess what? I’m ONE with the whole freakin’ ocean! We are one and the same.
I watch my thoughts. I don’t let myself get too caught up in the anxious future. I sit with what is (my new mental mantra- “Ass on the ground Morgan, ass on the ground”). I take it one day, one hour, one moment at a time, knowing that though I may feel REALLY uncomfortable right now, this feeling is temporal and won’t last forever. NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. No pain, no matter how great, can eat you. You are stronger than it, stronger than your fear, stronger than your addictions, stronger than you could ever imagine. <– And herein lies your power. BELIEVING IN YOURSELF. BELIEVE YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH AND YOU WILL BE STRONG ENOUGH.
Get in touch with the ocean. As God as you know it. Believe in who you really are. Ask yourself who that is and channel her. Figure out what you are using food to escape from and then vow to be brave and stand your ground. No fleeing, you’re not leaving. I don’t care how AWFUL this moment is. I’m not a runner, I get through things.
I believe in you dear ones, because we can do hard things.
Here’s Oprah’s Super Soul Session talk on her long history with food and how she’s dealing with it now. So much of this resonated with me. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, watch the first 10 minutes- IT’S HILARIOUS! And while you’re there, check out some of the other super soul sessions. You won’t regret it 🙂
There are SO many passages from Geneen’s book that are wonderful, but this might be the most practical and wonderful of them all. She calls them “If Love Could Speak Instructions:”
“If love could speak to you about food, it would say, ‘Eat when you are hungry, sweetheart, because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy the taste of food. And why should you do anything you don’t enjoy?’ If love could speak to you, it would say, ‘Eat what your body wants, darling, otherwise you won’t feel so well, and why should you walk around feeling tired or depressed from what you put into your mouth?’ If love could speak to you, my little cream puff, it would say, ‘Stop eating when you’ve had enough, otherwise you will be uncomfortable, and why spend one minute in discomfort?’”
And there it is. Eat when you’re hungry. Eat what your body (not necessarily your taste buds) wants. Stop when you’re full. Eat slowly and mindfully (enjoying what you’re eating while you’re eating it). Eating this way means you get to partake in one of life’s greatest pleasures without regret. No regret. Not because you want to lose twenty pounds or look good in a bathing suit or stack up better to others. No. Because eating this way leaves you feeling damn good and you are always worthy of feeling damn good my dears.
**So I know our cultural has chosen “thinness” as what is right and acceptable for a woman to be. In cultures past this has not always been the case, but in our cultural this is what the constant barrage of images and societal messages tells us. We know this is total bullshit. We are MUCH MORE than our bodies. Our bodies are not things to be objectified and we have every right to OWN whatever size we are and feel WORTHY in it. However, I’m not going to beat myself up for wanting to be thin just because our cultural has a screwed up perspective of it. No, this goes back to wanting what I want and I have a right to want to be thin, because it’s what I WANT and not because it’s what society says I should want. Am I going to love myself whatever my size? And if I don’t eat in a loving way on any given day? Yes, and yes! But I’m allowed to feel good in my body whatever my size and if the size I feel good in, is also the size society says I should feel good in, well then there’s nothing I can do about that. Screw them, this is about me 🙂